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Healthy You

Sitting Tall: Improving Your Posture

Friday, May 06, 2016 7:58 AM

We start out with good intentions, but as the day wears on, so does our posture. From sitting at our desk, standing in line at the grocery store, sitting while we’re driving or walking from the car to the house. How can we improve our posture?


It’s never too late to work on your posture! Before working on improving posture, Rachel Kermen, MD, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at NorthShore, suggests assessing your posture.

Find a full-length mirror, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and relax. Look at how you naturally stand from the front and side. This will help you see where you need to better your posture. Your ears should be midpoint of your shoulder, not too far forward. If you see shoulder blades, that means your back is rounded too much. Your shoulders should also be at the same level, one not higher than the other. Mind your hips, if they tilt forward a bit you’ll see a small belly pooch form. Your feet should be pointing straight ahead.

To better your posture, Dr. Kermen offers these tips:

  • Find the right exercise. Workouts such as Pilates and yoga will strengthen your core and are great ways to support a straight spine.
  • Drink your milk. Mom was right! Drinking milk provides calcium and vitamin D. Calcium is necessary for keeping your bones strong and healthy. Vitamin D not only is essential for bone health, but also for maintaining muscles.
  • Move more. Most of us spend our days in front of a computer. It’s important to take breaks and walk for a few minutes every hour.
  • Support your spine. To support yourself, you need both an engaged core and a strong back. Grab some weights and ask a trainer for exercises that can help strengthen your back muscles.
  • Stretch it out. Talk with your physician about what exercises can be done to correct your posture. For example, dropping your chin to your chest for a few seconds will help relax your neck and prevent your head from hanging out too far. You can also stretch your hip flexors to prevent your pelvis from tilting forward.

If you are not sure where to start or begin to experience any back pain, consult with your physician.

What have you done to better your posture?